(File photo)

MANILA – Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Friday hailed Senator Robinhood Padilla’s call encouraging all government officials and employees, including his fellow workers in the showbiz industry, to take drug tests.

Atin pong pinupuri si Sen. Padilla sa kanyang position na dapat ma-protektahan ang mga Filipino, mga opisyal at kawani ng pamahalaan, kasama na ang kanyang mga fellow workers sa showbiz industry, sa mga masasamang epekto ng illegal na droga (We praise Senator Padilla over his position to protect Filipinos, officials and employees of the government and even his fellow workers in the showbiz industry from the ill effects of illegal drugs),” he said in a statement..

This came as Padilla himself submitted to a voluntary drug test at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency's (PDEA) office earlier this week.

In his anti-drug crusade, Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, has filed resolutions calling for House members to submit themselves to a mandatory drug test before assumption to office, and every year thereafter.

Failure to comply shall be ground to withhold salaries, wages, and benefits, in addition to sanctions by civil service laws and rules.

The solon from Mindanao said the recent arrest of an actor in a drug-buy bust operation, is the reason that prompted him to call on all Filipino movie production outfits, directors, and talent agents to subject celebrities under their stable to undergo drug testing before engaging their professional services.

Alam ko na halos lahat ng ating mga artista ay drug-free o malinis sa usapin ng ilegal na droga. Pero meron din na naliligaw ng landas, na gumagamit o minsan nagtutulak pa ng ilegal na droga (I know that almost all of our celebrities are clean when it comes to illegal drugs. But that there also those who are taking crooked ways and sometimes use or sell illegal drugs),” he said.

Kaya hinihiling at hinihikayat ko ang hanay ng ating showbiz industry na tumulong sa kampanya laban sa droga sa pamamagitan ng pag-police ng kanilang ranks at i-subject ang kanilang mga talents sa drug test bago bigyan ng project (This is why I encourage the showbiz industry to help in the campaign against drugs through policing your ranks and subjecting your talents to drug tests before giving them projects),” he added.

Barbers said that while mandatory drug testing, if done randomly and without suspicion, may be unconstitutional as declared by the Supreme Court, it is the right of every employer -- government or private entities -- to craft anti-drug policies to compel their employees to undergo drug test.

“Employers, may they be private or government entities, may craft policies to ensure all their employees are drug-free. It would best or worry-free for them that their employees or would-be employees are not into illegal drugs,” he said.

In the United States, he said, the US Supreme Court (Board of Education vs. Earls, 536 U.S. (2002) has upheld the constitutionality of mandatory drug testing by public schools of students participating in extracurricular activities like sports.

“Here in the Philippines, I think it is not unconstitutional to subject to mandatory drug tests all police and military applicants, gun owners, security guards and other security-related services. Prior to employment, civil servants and employees in the private sector should also be subjected to drug tests,” he explained. (PNA)